For a long time now, Space-based solar power has seemed feasible enough and can ensure a cheaper and more eco-friendly source of energy for our planet. But for an equally long time, nothing has happened with this issue. Now however, the giant solar microwave space flower that is pictured above may look a bit weird but NASA saw enough in its workings to put in an investment in order to make it real.
Space-based solar panels seem to make more sense because it orbits far enough from earth so it will be collecting sun light continuously since there is no night. On top of that, there is virtually no atmosphere in space and therefore no interference in the amount of solar power than can be collected. On the other hand, a space-based solar panel would mean an expensive launch and also the need to innovate a way to get the power down back to ground here on Earth.
The big flower you see in the picture is called the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array (SPS-ALPHA) which allegedly solves all those problems by using a bio-inspired, modular design. The array of mirrors that make up the flower are designed to be individually controlled to redirect incoming sunlight down towards the disc at the bottom of the flower, the other side of the disc which is covered in photovoltaic panels sends the power to the disc facing Earth which uses low-density microwaves to send the power pelting towards Earth. While the idea has the confidence of the Space agency, for now only prototypes have been ordered up with the eventual hope of something substantial that can be sent into orbit for a flight test.
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